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Tennessee Pastor Who Was Shot in the Mouth Returned to the Pulpit to Preach on Easter: 'It's Resurrection Sunday'

Talia Wise : Apr 1, 2024  CBN News

"I believe in the Scriptures, where Paul says, 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.' You really don't know how hard you can pray until you've been through a crisis like I've been." -Pastor Clemmie Livingston

[CBN News] A Tennessee pastor returned to the pulpit Easter Sunday, just one month after being shot in the mouth outside of his church. (Screengrab image: via Fox 13)

"You know it's resurrection Sunday, but it also is a testimony Sunday for me," said Pastor Clemmie Livingston Jr. of New Zionfield Baptist Church in Memphis. "I'm a living testimony."

As CBN News reported, Pastor Livingston was critically injured when he attempted to stop two men from trying to steal a Sunday school teacher's vehicle on February 25.

The assailants shot the pastor while driving away from the scene.

"The victim was shot when he came out of the church as the suspects were stealing a 2019 silver Chevrolet Corvette," a statement from the Memphis Police Department said at the time. "As the suspects fled the scene in the stolen vehicle, they fired shots, striking the victim."

The bullet completely shattered Livingston's jaw and he had to undergo several surgeries to repair it.

"At this time, he is unable to eat or speak and communicates with us through notes and hand gestures," his wife, Gwendoline, told news outlets. "Surgeons have drilled ... and attached a brace to the right side of his face to try and hold the jaw closed, because the bullet shattered his jawbone into many pebble size pieces."

The road to recovery was predicted to be slow, but the 71-year-old was determined to preach.

"I believe in the Scriptures, where Paul says, 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,'" Livingston told the local FOX13 station.

"I have stood in the pulpit of many Easters in the past," he added. "This is the first time I've been in the pulpit as a wounded soldier of God. I am wounded, but I am not dead."

Livingston told the outlet he was taking the opportunity to preach now since he has more upcoming surgeries.

According to ABC27, the pastor is also battling bone cancer, which makes things a little more complicated–but not impossible.

"Not one day has the call to preach left me," he said. "Every day, when I rise up to when I sleep or slumber, God is on my mind."

Livingston says the moment that was supposed to be fatal has only increased his faith in God.

"You really don't know how hard you can pray until you've been through a crisis like I've been," he said.

Although there have been no arrests in connection with the shooting, Livingston feels motivated to help the young men in his community who have turned to a life of crime.

"Some of these young men, they haven't been given an opportunity to get jobs, to buy their own car...[we need to] help these guys. Teach them how to put a roof on. Teach them how to lay bricks," he shared. "That's my plan. Teach them all these things. Whatever it takes. Stop the killing."

Gwendoline started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to assist with the cost of the surgeries. To date, the fundraiser has reached more than $39,000 of its $50,000 goal. Subscribe for free to Breaking Christian News here

Talia Wise has served as a multi-media producer for, CBN Newswatch, The Prayer Link, and CBN News social media outlets.

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